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Flugel, I. (1931). Some Psychological Aspects of a Fox-Hunting Rite. Int. J. Psycho-Anal., 12:483-491.

(1931). International Journal of Psycho-Analysis, 12:483-491

Some Psychological Aspects of a Fox-Hunting Rite

Ingeborg Flugel

There exists in England to-day a curious hunting rite, which is well known to all followers of hounds, but which, perhaps because of its very strangeness and barbarity, is seldom if ever mentioned in the copious literature of hunting. When a person—nowadays usually a child—is present at a kill of a fox for the first time, the Master, taking some severed portion of the animal, smears some of the blood upon the face of the person, who is not allowed to wash it off until the evening. This procedure of 'Blooding' or 'Christening', as it is called, is regarded as an honour, and, to judge from various accounts I have collected, usually gives great pleasure to the parents of the children who are blooded, though the children themselves naturally react to the ceremony very varyingly. Some are not a little terrified. One small boy cried bitterly, until, to the dismay of his parents (who belonged to a well-known fox-hunting family) it became necessary to wash the blood stains away before the appointed time. Others are proud of the distinction; indeed, the late H. W. Selby-Lowndes, who was blooded at four and a half, refused to have his face washed even at bedtime. What can be the meaning of this curious and bloody rite which, if reported of a primitive people, would surely be regarded as a sign of savagery? It is clear we have to do here with an initiation ceremony. Indeed, in the words of a recent correspondent, 'the boy or girl who has been blooded, is definitely considered to be admitted to the ranks of Nimrod and Diana'.

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